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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Never heard of The Diamondback or The Diamondback Loop?

You're not alone. It's one of the best kept secrets in the Southeast. Here's the details!

The Diamondback

WHERE: NC 226A in McDowell and Mitchell counties - ends at Gillespie Gap/NC 226 S
LENGTH: 12 miles
TOTAL NUMBER OF CURVES: Over 190
AVERAGE NUMBER OF CURVES PER MILE: 15.8 per mile
TOTAL NUMBER OF SWITCHBACKS: 12
TOTAL NUMBER OF S-CURVES: The Diamondback/226A is 12 miles of S-Curves interrupted by switchbacks!


The Diamondback Loop

WHERE: NC 226A, Blue Ridge Parkway, and NC 80
LENGTH: 41.8 miles
TOTAL NUMBER OF CURVES: 425
AVERAGE NUMBER OF CURVES PER MILE: 10 per mile
TOTAL NUMBER OF SWITCHBACKS: 33 - 4 at the top of the NC 80/The Devil's Staircase portion are in a "run"
TOTAL NUMBER OF S-CURVES: The Diamondback/226A portion is a series of S-Curves interrupted by switchbacks! There's a series of 11 on NC 80 alone. One series is more than 1 mile long!


One Possible Diamondback Loop Route:

A. Start with a climb up The Diamondback to Little Switzerland
B. Get on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Switzerland Inn
C. Turn left onto the Parkway South for an 11 mile stretch to 1/2 a mile past MP 334
D. Get on NC 80/The Devil's Staircase and descend more than 2,500 feet in just 10 MILES! The NC 80 portion takes you past scenic Lake Tahoma
E. End at US 70 just west of Marion




So, 6 hours 45 min, 265 miles, and more than 190 steep, climbing curves later, I'm back home from one of the best rides ever. This morning I met up with Bill who lives up the rode from me, and headed out to NC 226A, a swath of road known as the Diamondback.
http://www.diamondbacknc.com/[url]http://www.diamondbacknc.com/[/URL]

The ride there was not much to see or do for a little under 2 hours. We met up with Ororobos ,who trekked in from the TN side about three hrs (even after taking a spill last week), at the Walmart in Marion. Exchanged pleasantries and headed towards the Diamondback loop for the first go round. [url]http://www.diamondbacknc.com/db_loop_route.html[/URL] The second go round, we did most of the Lake James Route excluding Hwy 126. [url]http://www.diamondbacknc.com/lake_james_route.html[/URL]

Bill had been there before so he knew the roads better than we did and boy did he know them. Bill was on his wife's Green '99 Ninja. Bill kept telling us he was just an old fat guy who likes to ride motorcycles. Yeah right... Bill was a ringer. Bill dun seent dem hills befo' and it showed, cause I for one had a lil time keeping up when we first started out. I won't say we were speeding per se, but the pace was much faster than one could have done on the Dragon. Bill had that lil Ninja in the wind. I loved it. We stopped in Little Switzerland for a break, chatted a minute, took some photos and admired the Porshce Boxer group that was there as well.

The Diamondback has just the right combination of curves, hills, breath taking scenery, straights, sweepers, hairpins and switchbacks. To top it off, barely any traffic and smooth roads. The roads on the Blue Ridge Pkwy had to be some of he smoothest in the NC mountains. The Dragon is good but I think the Diamondback is just as good if not better. Just the lack of other traffic and congestion like slow moving cars, tractor trailers and slow Hog riders, made the ride awesome. There were a few there but not as many as you would see on the Dragon. The only downside I found was that there were more driveways and side streets and roads entering onto the route, so you have to be aware that no one pulls out on you. Overall this is another one of those roads you have to ride.

I'm definitely going again.

I almost forgot to mention...we got photos snapped of us on "The Devils Staircase"
http://www.thedevilsstaircase.com/aboutthedevilsstaircase.html[url]http://www.thedevilsstaircase.com/aboutthedevilsstaircase.html[/URL]

http://www.blindkenny.com/whattoexpect.html[url]http://www.blindkenny.com/whattoexpect.html[/URL]
 

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I've got to hit that road up when I go out there. I've already been researching 226A from what you mentioned in another post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've got to hit that road up when I go out there. I've already been researching 226A from what you mentioned in another post.
This road is deceptively good. it starts out tame, then works into a frenzy of twist and turns. Hwy 180 is where you can wind it out a little to get into some long and short sweepers. There's no slow speed sight seeing like on the Dragon. You have to pay too much attention. Because the Ninja is so easy to lean, it's easy to get caught up. I think riders with the bigger bikes would have to wrestle to keep the bike from standing up straight. We were the only 250's that day.

When you go out that way give your self a couple of extra hours. You'll want to do it twice. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fantastic Ghost! It's been added to the list! We are going to have so much fun in August!
About 3 hrs from the Gap. I think a few others are looking to go there as well.

Photos taken on the Devil's Staircase by Blind Kenny during our ride Saturday 6/4. Photos 100 to 126 were taken of me on the Blue Ninja, Ororobos the Red Ninja, and Bill on the Green Ninja.

[url]http://www.photoreflect.com/store/Or...9&po=99&pc=126[/URL]
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
dead link... That's gonna be sweat, dude! I have no idea how I'm going to fit in all that riding!
OK. New Links. PhotoReflect - blindkenny - The Devil's Staircase (Saturday 6.4.11) 8.30-5.00

PhotoReflect - blindkenny

Photos taken on the Devil's Staircase by Blind Kenny during our ride Saturday 6/4. Photos 100 to 126 were taken of me on the Blue Ninja, Ororobos the Red Ninja, and Bill on the Green Ninja.


That's a whole lot of riding. Just a couple of the rides around the Gap are 2-3.5 hrs. This was the longest amount of time I've ridden the 250 Ninja in one day. I was totally exhausted.
 

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that's awesome! I dig! I'm gonna have so much fun!

so on those curves....

what is the speed limit?

how fast were you going?

and much faster could you have gone?

Trying to figure out if I should bring my onesie...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
that's awesome! I dig! I'm gonna have so much fun!

so on those curves....

what is the speed limit?

how fast were you going?

and much faster could you have gone?

Trying to figure out if I should bring my onesie...
The posted speed limit on Hwy 226a was 35 mph and 45 mph, which is impossible to consistently maintain for any amount of time. Short straights and gradual turns you can get up to about 50 but then it back down to as low as 25 mph. The road will make you use the gears if you want to stay smooth and not at high rpms all day. (that's going up hill)

YouTube - ‪226a DOWN THE HILL‬‏

Hwy 181 was/is mostly down hill, long sweeping turns that you can get ad keep good speed on. 57+ mph in some spots, others will make you back it down. I could have gone faster overall but I was following and found myself braking when I didn't need to. The Ninja felt good, just dug itself into the road. of course by then the tires were nice and warm. But it's all good even though there were a few rough spots where some hill gravel got on the road.

YouTube - ‪NC 181 south‬‏

Devils Staircase posted speed was between 10 mph and 45 mph. Again almost impossible to maintain any consistency. There is one turn that almost turns back on it self.
YouTube - ‪NC-80 at Marion, NC‬‏

If you watch any vids you can gauge whether or not you need the onesie
 
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